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Student Bios

UNH has been utilizing students to design and develop the test equipment for the STTL as part of a senior design project.  The student’s efforts have been vital to the success of the laboratory and will continue to be in the future.

Daniel A Cowan (Project Leader), Arthur Daniel Kiley Jr. (Project Leader), Kanok Charoenchaiprakit, Chia-Han Chiang, Macide Dunica, Priya Nathaniel, Tawatos Phadungsoondararak, Joana Rodrigues, Mikhael Sokolskiy.

University of New Haven Solar Lab Dan Cowan Daniel Cowan  (Project Leader)

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Daniel Cowan lives in Connecticut and was the founding President of the New Haven Student ASHRAE Chapter. He is currently the co-chair of the Student Activities at the Connecticut ASHRAE Chapter, and also was the recipient of the Willis H. Carrier Scholarship in 2010.

As one of the project leaders, Dan has been managing the other student members in his group and overseeing the thermal and fluid design, control sequence, and power distribution for the STTL Pump Cart.

Dan currently works for JP Kempf Company in Milford Connecticut as their Design and Construction Manager.  JP Kempf specializes in custom industrial refrigeration systems, and facility design and build. More information about Dan's professional work can be found at



 University of New Haven Solar Lab - Art KileyArthur Kiley Jr.  (Project Leader)

Hometown: West Haven CT

Majors:   BS: Mechanical Engineering

               AS: Manufacturing Engineering

Work:  For the past several years I have been interning at Covidien Medical Devices. This internship coupled with my education has given me an in-depth knowledge of engineering in theory and practicality. Having the opportunity to put into practice what I have learned has been invaluable.

Future Goals:     I hope to expand my reach in the engineering field and provide innovative solutions for tomorrow's problems.

I have always enjoyed working with my hands, growing up I spent a lot of my time working on cars.  I find great satisfaction in being able to create what was once a thought into a reality.  The mechanical engineering curriculum has fueled my curiosity for technology as well as all types of engineering.

My role as a project leader has shown me the many aspects of managing and coordinating a large scale project such as: developing a testing lab; testing equipment; working as a team; goal setting and accountability. Largely I have learned the importance of communication within the group. Being able to set priorities and meet goals within a set timeline involves excellent communication skills. Representing my group and acting as the voice for the team accomplishments and objectives has also greatly improved my ability to present and speak to a range of people. My Design work on this project has also been very challenging. Some of the key areas have been replicating conditions of exposure and conform to standards and tolerances set by the SRCC. My main design contributions have been developing the testing apparatuses and construction of testing equipment. Working on the Solar Testing Lab has educated me on how important alternative energy is for our country and the rest of the world. I believe the continued education of engineering is an important part to solving many of our challenges today.

University of New Haven Tawatos Phadungsoondararak Tawatos Phadungsoondararak 

Origin : Thailand

 Major : Electrical Engineering

Work: Electrical components selection, Hardware

What I've learned : New kinds of sensors; Pyranometers, Flow meters and RTDs. Applying the electrical world to the mechanical world.

Useful courses : Power Electronics, Digital Systems, Semiconductor Devices, Electrical Instruments and Measurement, Digital IC, Analog IC, Noise Reduction Techniques In Electronic System

 Before I came to UNH, I received my BE in Electronics Engineering from King Mongkut's Institute of Technology in Ladkrabang, Thailand. I worked as a design engineer in Delta Electronics Co.,Ltd. (Thailand), and then came to UNH for a master's of science in electrical engineering.  I heard about this project during my third trimester here, and joined immediately.  I have found that this project has provided me an opportunity to utilize my skills that I have learned both from my electrical schooling and work experience.

Thus far, my main focus has been the electrical specifications of the equipment and sensors. When combining sensors and circuits together with a mechanic machine, there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. For this project we needed to consider sensors that measure temperature, strength, pressure, humidity and light intensity. The tests required for this project are extreme. This means that the testing equipment must be able to withstand these extreme conditions. Some components that would work perfectly from an electrical point of view in a normal situation, do not for this project because of these extreme conditions. The hard work began with searching for the components that are good from both an electrical point of view and a mechanical point of view.

At this point, I have gained a lot of knowledge about the standards and classes of components and sensors which are of a higher accuracy than those designed for normal commercial usage. I have started to learn about the fluid control system and am beginning to develop the equipment necessary for it to function. I hope I will continue to learn a lot from this project in the future.


 Joana W. Rodrigues

Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil

Majors: BS: Mechanical Engineering

Work:  For the past 2 years I have been working as an assistant engineer at Birk Manufacturing, in East Lyme, CT. This work experience greatly complemented my education. I work helping develop flexible heating elements for many industries such as medical devices, military applications and manufacturing.

Future Goals:     I hope to further my education and contribute to the engineering community by developing new technologies and improving existing ones.

I was born and raised in Brazil. In 2003, I came to US to do an exchange program and continue my education in the Engineering field. The mechanical engineering curriculum has provided me with great problem solving skills and I feel a great accomplishment in applying these skills in all aspects of my life. In addition, this major has complemented my need for innovation and my interest in new technologies.

My role as a team member has provided me the opportunity to explore many aspects of new designs. I have been working in creating test procedures as well as test equipment for the solar test lab. As part of my tasks, I have created drawings that illustrate the many components of the test equipment. In addition, I worked on 3D models so that the group can explore the many possibilities of the designs prior to fabrication. Another important aspect of my role is to support the team leaders in generating documentations and journals that describe the progress of the project. These tasks have positively impact my abilities to work in group as well as my technical skills as an engineer. Also, working in this project has allowed me to work closely with a group of bright young engineers. In fact, being a part of this group has endowed me with a great team spirit and a wonderful exposure to applied engineering.


   University of New Haven Solar Lab - Priya NathanielPriya Nathaniel

Hometown:West Haven CT

Origin: India

Major: Electrical Engineering, BS

Work: I finished my internship at RADIANT – RSCC Specialty Cables Pvt. Ltd. in India which is collaborated with Rockbestos Surprenant Cable Corporation located in Hartford, CT. I worked in the R&D department, and my duties involved testing and inspection of different type of electrical cables under testing expert supervision. My experience at Radiant had immensely helped me to learn how to work in a job environment and improve my technical skills.

Future Goals: When I graduate, I plan to pursue Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. I desire to become a professional and apply the ideas acquired in the degree courses.

I am a Dean’s List student with a GPA of 3.7/4.0. I am also a student member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) for past three years.

STTL came up to me as my senior design project. In this project we are designing a test rig in order to test indoor and outdoor capabilities of a solar collector. I am working in a group of four electrical engineers to control the data acquisition using NI LabView 2010 and control the fluid flow in the system using Emerson PLC controller. We also researched on several sensors such as pyranometer, pyheliometer, wind speed sensor that will be used during testing of the solar collectors. I had a great experience while doing this project. This project helped me to expand my knowledge both in technical and professional terms.


Mike Sokolskiy Mike Sokolskiy

Hometown: East Longmeadow, MA

Majors: BS: Mechanical Engineering

Work:  During the summer between my junior and senior year, I worked for a small wind turbine company called FloDesign. The test turbine, named BRIZA, was my main project. Organizing wind data for the procurement of a new test site was key, and a few other interns and I developed a spreadsheet to organize these data. As a senior I took a position with Pratt & Whitney supporting core manufacturing engineering, doing cost estimation modeling. Currently I work for Pratt & Whitney in indirect materials, maintaining a machining parameter program and organizing and standardizing their production tool library.

Future Goals:     I am currently in the process of securing a permanent position in perishable tooling at P&W, and pursuing a MSME at RPI.

I have always enjoyed math and science, so engineering was a natural jump for me coming out of high school. I chose UNH for its pledge to experiential education, in the hope of rounding myself into a valuable engineer.

The project called for a number of stress analyses and fluid analyses I developed spreadsheets to run these routines to support the design process.


University of New Haven Solar Lab Jim Williamson

Jim Williamson

Hometown: Seymour, CT

Major: BS Mechanical Engineering

Work: Over the past summer, I worked as an intern at Sikorsky Aircraft in Stratford, CT. My work included expediting parts for the H-92 Super Hawk. Additionally, I developed a series of excel VBA programs to organize and develop part lists.

Future Goals: I plan to further my education by pursing a MS Mechanical Engineering degree.

I joined the University of New Haven’s STTL team as junior in January of 2011. My contributions to the project include: construction on each of the three test carts, program development of the control system with the E2 module, and research of various testing components. Aside from the project, I serve as the treasurer of the university’s ASME student chapter, as well as the Vice President of the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society.  


Ken Bilodeau

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Becket, Massachusetts

I became a member of the University of New Haven’s STTL team this winter as a junior mechanical engineering student from Becket, Massachusetts. I have always enjoyed a more hands on experience with engineering having worked on vehicles from ATVs and automobiles ever since I can remember. The University of New Haven’s STTL provided me with the opportunity to get true hands on building and design experience on a real engineering project.  Some of my contributions on the project thus far include construction on all three testing carts, design of a pyranometer mounting system on the panel ambient (instrumentation) cart, design of a mounting system for the anemometer (wind speed sensor) on the panel testing cart allowing it to be perpendicular to the ground at all times, as well as designing a propane tank mounting system with firewall.  In addition to taking part in this project I am member of the university’s ASME student chapter which designs and builds a super-mileage vehicle. Also, I am member of the Pi Tau Sigma Mechanical Engineering Honor Society as well as a member of New Haven’s varsity baseball team.


University of New Haven Solar Lab Kanok CharoenchaiprakitKanok Charoenchaiprakit

Origin : Thailand

 Major : Electrical Engineering

Work: Software part, Programming LABVIEW

This project really challenged me to create a data logging with a user interface LabView program. There are many types of sensors and transducers that we have to record in an EXCEL file and much of data needs to be sent to a CPC-E2 controller in order to control a circulating fluid loop. The data acquisition device we use is a NI CompactDAQ that has four analog input modules and an analog output module connected to a laptop computer. The most important thing that I have gotten from this project has been learning how to work in an interdisciplinary group setting.  On this project I have been working with electrical engineering,  system engineering, and mechanical engineering students. This experience cannot be found in class and it is useful in real jobs.


Macide Dunica

Hometown: Paterson, NJ

Major: BS System Engineering

Work: For the summer of 2010 I worked at Sikorsky as a NASA sponsored intern under the guidance of a mentor.  Currently, I am interning at Sikorsky’s University of New Haven EIR program, Engineer-in-Residence.

Future Goals: I plan to further my education by pursing a MS in Systems Engineering and work as a System Engineer on complex projects.

STTL Work: I joined the STTL project in Fall 2010 as a project for my SE 488 System Engineering Design Process Course and continued to work on the project for my Senior System Engineering Design Course in Spring 2011. The Solar Testing and Training Laboratory is a complex system in which there are numerous requirements, standards, and policies that came from ISO17025, ISO9860-1, ISO 9806-2, SRCC TPA-1, SRCC STD-100 and Grant Contracts, therefore I helped manage the various operational, functional, and design requirements and validating if the test systems (comprised of Fluid Control System, Ambient Weather System and Panel Mount System) was designed correctly to the design requirements. In addition, I plan and track the schedule for the design and construction of the test systems, and I contribute on tasks from both Mechanical and Electrical.